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Will Sahara's stake in Force India help to rope in Indian drivers?
Sahara Group has brought in a 42.5 per cent stake in the F1 team, Force India. The name has also been changed to Sahara Force India. It has been reported that Sahara group has invested around $100 million in Force India.

THE POPULARITY of F1 can be traced from the fact that India would be hosting its first F1 grand prix later during the month. Tickets for the event have been increasing rapidly every day, and some of the cheaper range tickets are sold out. So, Sahara group must have thought it to be wise to invest in a F1 team, as they have acquired a 42.5 per cent stake in the F1 team, Force India, which was primarily owned by an Indian Vijaya Mallaya.

According to Reuters, it has been reported that Sahara group has invested around $100 million in Force India. Hence, the name has changed from Force India to Sahara Force India, which must have brought a pleasing smile to Sahara group. It would be interesting to see now, if the new stakeholders would be pushing for an Indian driver for Sahara Force India. Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta are their main drivers, who have been doing a decent job while representing Force India at present. So would they think of employing new Indian drivers for the next season? Looking at the competitive nature in the F1 circuit they would go in for a driver which could carry their team name high rather than going for a driver just because he is Indian.

Sahara Force India has Indian sponsors, like Reliance Industries Limited along with other smaller sponsors too. So if these sponsors put pressure on the team owner to have an Indian driver in the driver’s seat, the owners have to give a rethink towards their strategy. Having an Indian driver may mean F1 would become more popular in India and receive full support from F1 fans in India. Two major contenders for the seat would be Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandok. Both these drivers might be pleased to drive for a team that is owned by Indians. Karun is presently with an F1 team, Team Lotus.

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